Minister concerned about female youth unemployment

While vowing to take an aggressive approach toward addressing unemployment among young women, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle said her ministry will allocate “as much as needed” to tackle the issue.

“We’re going to put as much as we can and as much as needed to do that which is necessary to assist women,” Rolle told reporters on the sidelines of the Torchbearers Youth Association (TYA) convention.

“I am there. I am in the trenches and, so, who feels it knows it. So, I am grateful for the opportunity to have advanced, and, so, it is my responsibility, personally, to ensure that this happens for women, other women as well. You know that is going to happen. We will do it.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Statistics released its latest labor force survey which revealed that youth unemployment for women was the highest recorded for all groups at 20.7 percent, compared with 19.5 percent for young men.

Young women, those aged 15-24 and core-aged women, those aged 25 to 54, were more likely to be unemployed than their male counterparts.

On Friday night, Rolle, who is the only woman serving in Cabinet, said, “This is telling us that we have work to do. We cannot sit in our laurels. The women and the young women in particular are depending on us.”

The minister said she looks forward to working with the Ministry of Social Services and creating more opportunities for the advancement of women in The Bahamas.

She said she will put her “best efforts forward” to address the issue over the next three years.

“The information was telling and it tells us that we have to put more focus on women and young women,” Rolle said.

“And, so, we look forward to doing that. I look forward to working with Minister [of Social Services Frankie] Campbell and the gender team in ensuring that this is done and certainly the division of youth doing their part.”

According to the latest unemployment figures, despite attaining higher education, the likelihood of unemployment is higher for women than men.

Of the unemployed individuals who had completed secondary school, 67.2 percent were women and 62.5 percent were men.

In May 2019, the labor force totaled 214,890, consisting of 102,730 women and 112,160 men.

The data further shows that at the time of the survey there were 22,635 people unemployed – 11,230 women and 11,405 men.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 10 percent in May 2018 to 9.5 percent in May 2019.

The latest numbers also reflect a drop in the unemployment rate compared to the 10.7 percent recorded in November 2018.

Women were unemployed at a rate of 9.9 percent.

Men were unemployed at a rate of 9.2 percent.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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